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Why Employee Collaboration is Key for Cybersecurity

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By Emmanuel Asika

Many will hate to admit it, but it seems that, perhaps, it has become quite lucrative these days to be a cybercriminal. Firstly, it is a thriving business. For instance, according to the FBI, there was a 207% increase in in reported case of cybercrime reports between 2008 and 2021, and almost $7 billion (₦3,223,080,000,000) in losses last year.

In Nigeria, the peril of cybercrimes recorded a massive rise in the first six months of 2022, “with phishing and scams hitting 174%”.

According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) well over 2,800 persons were convicted of cybercrimes in the country last year, and the Consumer Awareness and Financial Enlightenment Initiative (CAFEI) has projected a $6 trillion loss by 2030 to cybercrime within and outside Nigeria.

Secondly, it has no entry requirement – yes, it is that easy and, quite cheap. Imagine this – the typical cost of compromised remote access credentials costs about ₦2,302 and can simply be bought on the dark web.

Cyber crooks use these passes to access their prey’s enterprise networks. A report, The Evolution of Cybercrime, showed that 75% of advertisements for malware and 91% for exploits  costs less than ₦4,604.40. Some years ago, it was much more expensive. For instance, as of 2009, cybercriminals paid well over ₦3.6 million for a standard malware kit.

Worse still, it has become increasingly easier than ever before for these hackers to work together in a specialized and concerted secretive supply chain.

They have built fortes, proposing unique services like hiring of huge botnets to convey a customer’s preferred malware to thousands of targets, or hackers-for-hire who take full advantage of the destruction caused by ransomware – spreading an invasion of weak points in a network.

The result of all these is that workers in scattered workplaces around the globe are now in more danger than ever before. The unclear distinction between private and work devices means that hybrid staff are not always shielded by enterprise defenses, thus the risk of attacks is always there.

But there is a way out, and it lies with the employees who are usually the first line of defense, and they must work together. With computer crime now a part of how we do business, and growing, the only way to beat criminals is collaborating with one another to defend ourselves.

Knowing your enemies’ strategy

Hackers the world over betray trust in daily interfaces and exchanges online, mostly via emails, to gain access to systems. It is a known fact that email remains the most common means for hackers to secure illegal access to networks, and once they are in, they try to monetize their access—deactivating the group’s backups, stealing delicate information, and installing ransomware.

The effect of such violation can be grievous, leading to operational interruption, repairs, affect an organisation’s name, and lead to exposure of trade secrets and loss of intellectual property.

As a result, corporate groups and their employees must work together to fortify their lines in this highly increasing risky atmosphere.

Setting up your protective line

First, all employees must be conscious of the methods of hackers and promptly report any suspicious behaviour. They must also understand their respective roles in the defense of their organisation’s cyber systems.

The employers, on their part, must back these endeavors by inspiring a positive security culture where employees are given clear instructions to be watchful for phishing and IP protection, ask for help, collaborate on ways to advance cyber safety, and teach coworkers and family members.

As a group, companies and organisations should place emphasis on understanding the basics, constantly working on their resilience, and acting as a team to lessen their risk of exposure. Quality security begins with IT asset detection – you can only protect the devices, software and systems being used by your workers.

The next thing is to adhere to best practices in susceptibility management and multidimensional authentication, while putting in place the personnel, procedures, and know-how to spot, thwart, and recover from likely attacks. This entails anticipating and planning for the most unpleasant of scenarios, executing procedures to reduce supply chain and insider risks, and rehearsing your response.

Such rehearsal drills are not only important in getting you ready for the real attacks when they come, but also helps to expose hitherto unknown problems and inspire process improvements.

An organisation can also exploit the advantages of its security investments by closing known common attack routes, especially malware sent via email and the web, which can be nullified using prevention technologies like the hardware-enforced isolation of HP Sure Click Enterprise.

Such solutions help protect systems not by detecting malicious activity, but by allowing staffs to undertake normal daily routines, including risky undertakings like opening of email attachments safely and shielding IT departments against unidentified threats.

Collaborating with industry peers

Cyber security is a collaborative endeavor. Organisations can confidently strengthen the kind of actions and habits they will like their staff to adopt by vigorous and regular awareness sessions and exercises tailored to their needs.

A good example is HP’s recently released noir–inspired cybersecurity training film for its employees. This will help the organisation build a security culture, with staff encouraged to individually manage risks.

It must be pointed out too that these collaborations should not only be internal (within organisations), but also with other players in the industry. Such external cooperation, including sharing of threat intel, will help the organisation to gauge its cyber security strength and performance, equip it with current information on cybercrime trends and risks, and how best to stay ahead of cybercriminals in the current year, and in years to come.

Emmanuel Asika is Country Head, HP Nigeria


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E-Business

Expert Urges FG to Harmonise NIN, BVN to Tackle Crimes

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Noble Ajuonu, head, Sydani Technologies Ltd., has urged the Federal Government to harmonise National Identification Number (NIN) and Bank Verification Number (BVN) to tackle crimes and insecurity in the country.

Expert Urges FG to Harmonise NIN, BVN to Tackle Crimes

Ajuonu made the call at a media roundtable, organised by Sydani Group in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the roundtable focuses on driving sustainability through a comprehensive analysis of Nigeria’s key development areas.

Ajuonu said that Nigeria could overcome its security challenges and pave the way for a safer, more secure future for all Nigerians by embracing technology and implementing practical solutions,

“We need to harmonise data, prioritise seamless integration of databases like NIN, BVN, and security agency records, establish clear protocols for data sharing and access, with robust safeguards against misuse,’’ expert said.

According to him, the unified data pool will empower intelligence gathering and targeted operations.

He also called for investments in smart surveillance, intelligent video analytics software, training of personnel in data analysis, interpretation of data in real-time to combat crimes.

“There is need to implement a legal framework for call interception in criminal investigations, with strict oversight to prevent abuse, encourage community cohesion, training of tech savvy security personnel with tech-enabled tools.’’

Ajuonu also urged the government to address infrastructure deficit in technology, saying that technology was all encompassing to address insecurity.

“According to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), as of December 2023, only 104.2 million Nigerians had been enrolled for the National Identity Number (NIN).’’

Ajuonu added that over 122.2 million citizens left uncaptured for NIN were people in rural areas where enrolment centres, digital services were limited.

“Most crimes are being perpetuated from rural communities and this lack of comprehensive identification creates a gap where elements not captured in the national database can constitute public nuisance, crimes.

“There is the inadequacy in the integration of NIN, BVN and Voters Identification Number (VIN).

“Advanced call interception and analysis tools, used successfully in other countries, could provide invaluable insights into criminal networks and operations but infrastructure is lacking,’’ he said.

Also, Mr Godfrey Petgrave, the Agricultural Expert, Sydani Group, called for empowerment of smallholder farmers with access to finance and training to enhance productivity.

According to Petgrave, Nigeria requires policy reform and institutional strengthening to improve agricultural practices and embrace digital agriculture solutions to address food insecurity.

Mr Akolade Jimoh, another expert of the group on health, advocated for expanded community-based health insurance programmes for rural and underserved areas.

Jimoh added that the country needed to encourage Public Private Partnership to revolutionise products design and quality improvement on health services.


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Konga launches Infinix Brand Week with Incredible Deals

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Konga, Nigeria’s leading composite e-commerce group, is thrilled to announce the launch of amazing deals at its Infinix Brand Week. Infinix, a leading global smartphone brand known for its innovative products and cutting-edge technology promises exclusive discounts and special offers on select smartphones, marking an exciting milestone in the realm of online shopping.

Shoppers can expect nothing short of extraordinary deals on a wide range of Infinix products, all available exclusively on the Konga online platform. With discounts of up to 30% off, this partnership between Konga and Infinix aims to redefine the shopping experience for tech enthusiasts across Nigeria.

Konga Brand Week has become synonymous with excitement and unbeatable deals, and this year’s edition is no exception. In addition to exclusive discounts on Infinix smartphones, shoppers can explore a diverse array of products across various categories, including electronics, fashion, home essentials, and more.

“At Konga, we are dedicated to providing our customers with the best shopping experience possible,” said Rita Ohaedoghasi, VP Marketing at Konga. “The Infinix Week during Konga Brand Week allows us to continue delivering on that promise by offering incredible discounts and special offers on some of the most sought-after smartphones in the market.”

To stay updated on the latest developments and exclusive deals during Konga Brand Week, shoppers are encouraged to connect with Konga across all platforms, including social media and the Konga website. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to score big savings and elevate your tech game with Infinix and Konga.


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Study Reveals Software Programmers to make Full Use of AI Code Assistants

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Gartner predicts that by 2028, 75 percent of enterprise software engineers will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) code assistants, up from less than 10 percent, currently.

According to a Gartner poll of 598 global respondents conducted in the third quarter of 2023, 63 percent of organisations are now testing, deploying, or have previously implemented AI code assistants.

AI code assistants provide for more capabilities than only code development and completion, notes the research firm.

According to Gartner, the use of AI code assistants can lead to higher work satisfaction and retention, resulting in lower turnover costs.

Philip Walsh, senior principal analyst at Gartner, comments: “Software engineering leaders must determine ROI and build a business case as they scale their rollouts of AI code assistants.

“However, traditional ROI frameworks steer engineering leaders toward metrics centred on cost reduction. This narrow perspective fails to capture the full value of AI code assistants.”

Gartner notes that software engineering leaders must “reframe the ROI conversation from cost reduction to value generations”.

Walsh adds: “Calculating time savings on code generation is a good place to begin building a more robust value story. To convey the full enterprise value story for AI code assistants, software engineering leaders should connect value enablers to impacts, and then analyse the overall return to the organisation.”

 


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